Sylvia Milo & Nathan Davis (Little Matchstick Factory)


For 2000 years, societies have projected onto Mary Magdalene a wide range of roles—faithful witness, prostitute, priestess, goddess, wife, witch, mother—archetypes that adhere closely to attitudes held about femininity. Utterance is a music-theatre piece on the mythic and historic Mary Magdalene, elucidating this lattice of contradictions. It gives voice and agency to each archetype while illuminating the problematic nature of labels given by male authors and religious systems. This piece uncovers roots of gender inequality, male privilege, #MeToo, body rights, etc—our social inheritance.

Through extensive research in feminist theology, Milo has sculpted a text that weaves her own writing and these various threads of faith, tradition, and geography together with the ages of cultural and religious sediment that binds them. Davis composes and performs the score on hammered dulcimer, harmonium, small drums and bells, with electronic processing and spatialization surrounding the audience. It includes field recordings that Davis made in Sainte-Baume, an extraordinary cave in Provence where legend holds she lived the last 30 years of her life.

Little Matchstick Factory is comprised of Sylvia Milo, actress and playwright originally from Poland and based in NYC, and Nathan Davis, composer and percussionist. This is their second project together, following the acclaimed play The Other Mozart about the forgotten genius sister of Amadeus. Equal parts theater, experimental music performance, and ritual, it will premiere for audiences in NYC and subsequently tour.